It's been quite a year. It was my first year having all seven of my children in school (or, in homeschool terms - "doing" school). My youngest began the year without knowing how to read - he really didn't even know the sounds of most of the letters in the alphabet. Now, he's finishing the last of three 1st grade readers. He will be entering the 2nd grade next year while my oldest will be going into the 12th grade.
Back when my oldest was 5 years old, the alphabet never looked so scary. And numbers! How would I ever teach him to read or to count? Now I wish I could just be teaching him to read again. The future has never looked so scary and uncertain. College? Job? Who will hire him? What influences will surround him? Will he make it?
But, I digress. That's a whole other blog post.
This year, many lessons were agonized over. Tears were shed. Angry words were spoken. Some tests were passed while some received a failing graded. Some of my children sailed through subjects while others repeated one lesson for days until they got it. Just when someone thought they had a handle on a concept, the next day everything turned upside down. In the end, however, lessons were learned and each of my children are successfully entering the next grade.
These things are a part of every school year. The emotions, the work, the successes, the failures….it's all part of learning. School - the various subjects, the assignments, the tests - prepares young people for life. They are learning to stick with something even when it becomes difficult. They are learning to do things whether they like it or not. They are learning how to deal with obstacles. They are seeing their weaknesses and learning how to overcome with God's help…and some hard work.
What my children didn't fully realize this year is that I was learning along with them. Oh, I wasn't taking Biology tests, learning penmanship, or doing Algebraic problems. I was learning lessons that I will never forget - that will follow me throughout the rest of my life. I got a glimpse of just how sinful I am. I got a glimpse of just how amazingly merciful and gracious my God is. Some days, the lessons were agonizing. I spoke angry words. I cried for hours and days with few people ever knowing. There were many mornings I didn't want to get out of bed. Then, there were the days I felt the strength and grace of God so much that I felt my test had been passed with flying colors and I was ready for the next grade. Two days later, everything would turn upside down.
This morning, I sat on the couch next to my youngest while he read. I thought about how I sat there earlier this year in my sin and in my selfishness. I thought about how I sat there in the middle of the year…
reaching and grabbing onto the hand of my Saviour.
And I thought about how I sat there today…still humbled, still holding onto His hand,
wiser. Only by His grace.
Just as I hesitantly graduate my son to the 12th grade, I hesitatingly take a step out of this chapter with many lessons learned and ready for the next thing God has for me.
It's been a tough year. My kids have struggled with many of their lessons. So have I. But, they have learned them and are ready to move on. As am I. My kids look forward to a summer off. I look forward to a summer communing with my Lord. By His grace, we'll each enter the next school year rested and refreshed…and ready for our next lessons.